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I have a Taylor Baby and I'd like to replace the strap buttons with locking ones, but on looking around they seem to have varying length screws, and I don't want to damage the guitar.

I contacted Taylor and they were not entirely helpful, suggesting I contact a luthier which frankly seems a bit overkill and I can't afford.

What length should I use? Does it matter?

7

Strap locks are generally designed for electric guitars, because electrics are more often heavy, and it's heavy instruments that tend to shake their straps loose.

Hence, locking buttons are usually attached with a long wood screw, buried into the solid wood.

Acoustics tend not to have those deep solid wooden areas. If you like to have your strap attached at the heel, there may be enough wood there. At the tail it's unusual to have much depth of wood.

So, you would need an alternative way of attaching it -- perhaps a nut and bolt rather than a wood screw. The advice you've been given is probably sound -- a luthier could advise.

I personally would not attach a locking strap to an acoustic -- for me, the strap never falls off. The old trick of using the rubber ring from a Grolsch bottle is sufficient.

Grolsch bottle ring

Fender and others sell similar rubber rings. There are also plastic devices that fit over an existing button and twist to lock.

Dunlop strap lock

  • Very useful information, thanks! The reason I was thinking about them is that I use the guitar out and about and want to sling it over my back for carrying without worrying; would the Grolsch trick work here? Also I know very little of guitar construction so could you clarify "tail" and "heel" please? – Whelkaholism Jan 13 '15 at 11:25
  • Grolsch rings have been the standard for many years, I have locks on my Rikki bass, but Grolsch on my guitars - if they ever stop making the beer, lots of guitarists are going to be unhappy… on 2 levels ;-) – Tetsujin Jan 13 '15 at 11:28
  • Tail is the opposite end of the guitar to the headstock. Heel is the part where the neck meets the body. I would trust a Grolsch ring with an acoustic strapped over my back -- but you should try it and gauge the secureness for yourself. – slim Jan 13 '15 at 11:33
  • The added info is perfect, I didn't know about those existing button lock devices - I will try to track those down if I can't find any traditional Grolsch bottles, but I've marked this as the answer because the non-invasive solutions are even better than my original plan. – Whelkaholism Jan 14 '15 at 15:38
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Measure how deeply the original goes into the wood, then use a screw which is the same or slightly longer so it goes in approximately the same depth.

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As long as you use locks designed for your instrument body type, the stock screws don’t matter much, as strap locks typically have you replace them with a screw designed to secure the new hardware. Just use the provided equipment and follow the directions. While it is certainly possible to strip the screw holes while installing strap locks, that is a very simple thing to fix. It’s normal for strap buttons to come loose eventually, so it’s good to know how to fix them anyway.

If you are not sure whether strap locks are compatible with your body type, check with the strap lock manufacturer, or at least measure the screws already installed in your guitar. If the stock screws are very different from the hardware in the locks you are considering, I would recommend a totally different approach, as slim suggests.

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